Alentejo has a magical beauty specially in winter and spring. The landscape is all green and everywhere you'll see little flowers bloom. The sunrises and sunsets are a killer, specially in the little villages on the hills. This winter, we visited some of them and once again were enchanted by their slowness.
After one, two days in Alentejo it is hard to not feel the relaxation spread through your bones. No hectic, just pure nature and lots of time to do nothing. However, Mike and I are not the best at the doing nothing. We prefer to have a mix of activities and relaxing time. The Alentejo region is just perfect for that.
We love to visit little villages and their castles. To stop by authentic restaurants and watch the locals do their businesses. Here are our favorite villages and towns to visit when in northern Alentejo:
Monsaraz - The world famous village
Monsaraz is a very cute and well kept village on the top of a little hill with a castle. Meanwhile it‘s very well known and specially if you like to buy some Portuguese handcraft souvenirs, we recommend to go there. Go there before sunset. The view from the castle over the Alqueva lake, the biggest artificial lake in Europe is breathtaking.
São Pedro do Corval - For lovers of handmade souvenirs
On your way to Monsaraz (or way back from it) stop by São Pedro do Corval. By the main street you‘ll find lots of ateliers with traditional ceramic pieces. They all sell very similar things. But it‘s worth taking a look inside each one.
Évora - UNESCO World Heritage
I remember visiting Évora as a child. I was fascinated by the „Capela dos Ossos“ (bones chappel). Évora is the capital of Portugal‘s south-central Alentejo region. In the city‘s historic center stands the ancient Roman Temple of Évora (also called the Temple of Diana). It‘s where all the tourists end up doing their picture. Outside Évora, you‘ll find a megalithic complex, the Cromlech of the Almendres. It‘s located near the village of Nossa Senhora de Guadalupe. I would take a rest there in the middle of nature.
Estremoz - Amazing market on Saturdays
If you‘re staying at Casa Azimute or Dá Licença and like flea markets, we recommend you to visit the flea and food market on Saturday morning in Estremoz. We bought a beautiful set of old Vista Alegre ceramics.
Évoramonte - Most beauitful sunset
Évoramonte is a secret spot. Everyone visits Évora because it is a UNESCO World Heritage. But we adored Évoramonte on its hill. Please go for a late afternoon stroll to this cute village and enjoy the most spectacular sunset at the coffee place O Emigrante. In the main street you‘ll find little houses painted on the roadway, adorable!
Elvas - UNESCO World Heritage
Another secret spot to not miss when in the region is the Forte da Graça. Google it to see pictures from above, it‘s amazing! And the best about it, no people at all. The fort is only open to the public since two years and is a UNESCO World Heritage too. When driving there, you‘ll also be surprised by the impressive aqueduct on the entrance of Elvas.